Experts Tell Important Facts About Ankylosing Spondilitis

 Ankylosing Spondylitis is a kind of inflammatory arthritis. Here are some facts that you should know about it. 

Navya Kharbanda
Written by: Navya KharbandaPublished at: May 09, 2022Updated at: May 09, 2022
Experts Tell Important Facts About Ankylosing Spondilitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis is basically a kind of inflammatory arthritis that mostly leaves an impact on the spine and sacroiliac joints, leading to lower back, hip, and pelvic pain. With the lack of understanding around this disease, 69% patients are either misdiagnosed  or remain unaware, which further worsens their condition. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to a number of doctors to know more facts about this condition. 

Dr. Vishnu Sharma, Rheumatologist and Orthopedist, Apollo Hospitals, Ahmedabad, said, "Ankylosing Spondylitis usually strikes people at a younger age. The presence of the condition at such a growing age can cause stress and depression for the patient because of the pain and disability associated with the disease. AS restricts patients from being able to perform routine tasks as it causes a great deal of pain, fatigue, and lethargy. Cases that are much more complex, that involves the hip, leads to serious difficulties, where one is unable to sit in a comfortable posture, or sit cross-legged. Due to the hip involvement in these cases, pain becomes much more excruciating and causes multiple difficulties. Patients in rural areas find it difficult to even use toilets."

Facts about Ankylosing Spondilitis 

ankylosing spondilitis

Here are 6 facts that you should know about Ankylosing Spondilitis: 

1. Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease

AS is not caused because of the joints’ natural wear and tear but occurs due to the chronic inflammation in your body. The pain caused by this condition can get worse if there is no movement in joints and this inflammatory pain gets wore in the morning. This condition mostly occurs because the immune system is attacking the joints in the spine mistakenly. 

2. With time, the spine can fuse together

In some cases, the severity of AS joint damage can indicate the signs of inflammation, bone erosion, or bone thickening. As this worsens into “bamboo spine,” many patients face a loss of mobility in their back. But, timely diagnosis and treatment of AS can help in the prevention or delay. 

Also read: What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis? Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment And Tips For Prevention

3. Treating Ankylosing Spondylitis

One should carefully track all the symptoms and talk to a specialist, preferably a rheumatologist at the onset of symptoms of Ankylosing spondilitis. An expert can help in choosing the right treatment option that works best for them. Along with medication such as the biologic therapies, and certain lifestyle changes, you can cope up with some symptoms. 

Dr. Ramesh Jois, Consultant Rheumatologist, Manipal Hospital, Bangalore, said, "With all the recent technological advances in medical science, we have medicines such as biologic drugs that are effective in controlling inflammation of the spine and joints. It can also help in preventing progression of the condition and joint damage. Early diagnosis and treatment play a major role in managing Ankylosing Spondilitis. The main aim is to control inflammation as much as possible, which will also prevent bone fusion. You should adopt healthy lifestyle habits, along with good food and an exercise schedule (especially swimming) as these can prove to be extremely beneficial."

4. AS strikes the young

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Most people get affected with arthritis in their middle age, but inflammatory arthritis can initially develop at a younger age. Because of bad posture, sedentary lifestyle, and stress, a lot of young Indians are at a greater risk of developing this condition. 

5. AS can affect men and women differently

In men who have Ankylosing Spondilitis, the spine and pelvis are the most common areas the disease shows symptoms and where they are the most severe. On the other hand, for women, pain is mostly experienced in the joints of arms, legs, or neck. Inflammation in the blood also differs in both men and women with AS. 

Also read: What Are The Different Types of Spondylitis? Learn About 3 Major Types In This Article

6. Genes can play a role in AS

In particular, the genetic variant HLA-B27 is associated with an increased risk of developing AS. That said, testing for the HLA-B27 gene does not rule out a diagnosis. Around 2% of people who have the HLA-B27 gene might develop the condition, as per the Spondylitis Association of America, and not every patient with AS has the HLA-B27 gene.

Dr. Sarath Chandra Mouli, Rheumatologist, Begumpet, Hyderabad, said, “Although genetics (HLA-B27) play a role in 90% of cases, symptoms such as backaches should not be ignored. This gene when triggered by environmental factors such as pollution, dietary patterns, and smoking, can aggravate itself and birth the disease of Ankylosing Spondylitis. In some cases, there is a distinct pain in the sacroiliac joints (over buttocks), mostly while resting or after a period of sleep."

All image credits: Freepik

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